Words can lie and hurt; at worst, music can be unpleasing. Words are complicated by languages; misinterpretations cloud good intentions. Music is a language. The vernacular of our planet.
I run cross country; I love cross country. I love the competition, but also the traditions- gladly completed chores before a race. One of these chores holds and will always hold priority. Listening to music. Every song holds a different message; I pick the one I want to hear. I listen. Message received, I walk to the start line. It’s time to win.
Every summer I attend the Walton Orchestra Camp. A week of music and relaxation ends with a concert. This year I was lucky enough to be the first violin in a quartet that had four days to prepare. We decided to play a Telemann piece- easy rhythms and a fast tempo. Three days into rehearsal, we hit musicality. Our piece clicked, along with our trust in each other. I knew then that our quartet had the potential to send whatever message we wanted to through our music. The morning of our concert, the message lay waiting; we can rock classical music. Nine hours later, we sent it wearing orange socks, breaking bow hairs, and making more than one cry good tears. That was the greatest message I’ve ever sent.
I am the sixth chair first violin in the Walton High School Philharmonic Orchestra. Our achievement through our performances has brought recognition in Austria, Germany, Prague, and across the U.S. Our recognition comes from a diverse mix of people and languages. Sometimes I may not be able to say hello to members of our audience and have them understand, but when we play, they don’t need a translator.
We know when they understand our message; gaping mouths and bobbing heads give a clue. Our performance over, they return a message through an erratic rhythm of clapping hands. We don’t need a translator.
I’ve always thought the best music had no words, but just recently I learned why. Words make music too wordy. It doesn’t need them at all, and no one needs a translator.
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